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Tort “reform” is still a scam

I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

A national report released Wednesday says the 2003 Texas law that limited damage awards in malpractice suits has caused health care spending to rise and has not significantly increased the number of doctors in Texas.

[…]

The 24-page report by Public Citizen, “A Failed Experiment,” says that using Texas as a model would benefit doctors and insurers — not residents.

The report claims that Medicare spending in Texas has risen faster than the national average, and so have private health insurance premiums. It also says that, contrary to Perry’s claims, the per capita increase in the number of doctors practicing in the state has been much slower since the state passed the so-called tort reform law than it was before the law.

Organizations that support the 2003 law — the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Alliance for Patient Access — disputed the report’s assertions on the number of physicians who have come to the state. As for health care costs, “we never said consumer costs would go down,” Jon Opelt, the alliance’s executive director, said Wednesday.

You can see the Public Citizen press release here, and the full report here. I wish I had done enough blogging on the 2003 tort “reform” issue to take a crack at evaluating Opelt’s claim that no one promised this would help consumers, but I didn’t so I can’t. It sure sounds bogus to me, and I don’t believe him for a minute. I distinctly remember seeing pro-tort “reform” propaganda in the waiting room of our obstetrician around the time of the vote, and while I can’t remember exactly what it said, I’m sure it promised some benefits to the voting public. Anyway, while I can’t directly judge that claim I can say that the pro-tort “reform” side did make some outlandishly exaggerated promises about insurance rate reductions for doctors that they later tried to walk back. The Public Citizen report notes that insurance costs have eased a bit for doctors since 2003, but not that much. Anyway, check it out for yourself, and if you have any clearer memories – or better yet, evidence you can point to – about what the tort “reform” crowd said would happen if we all gave the insurance lobby a pony, leave a comment and let us know.

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3 Comments

  1. Cilla Mitchell says:

    Tort Reform is a legal weapon used in Texas against Texans ever since Governor Rick Perry signed the 2003 Tort Reform Act.

    Providing a link to a video showing the collateral damage left behind Tort Reform in Texas.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT7rxa21_Xo

    If you can not access link, just Google Cleveland Mark Mitchell, then click on youtube Cleveland Mark Mitchell December 12 1950 – April 26 2008.

    Thank you for your time,

    Cilla Mitchell

    A Texas nurse and vet

  2. Kenneth Fair says:

    As for health care costs, “we never said consumer costs would go down,” Jon Opelt, the alliance’s executive director, said Wednesday.

    Total horse manure. This was absolutely the selling point of tort “reform,” the claim that enacting it would encourage more doctors to stay in/move to Texas, and that patients’ costs and health insurance would go down. This was repeated ad nauseam.

  3. […] Recently, I blogged about a Public Citizen report that documented the ways in which tort “reform”, specifically medical malpractice damage caps, are a scam that has done none of the things its backers promised. You might have read that and thought “sure, but Public Citizen is a lefty group, and so they would never have liked med mal caps to begin with”. If so, then you should know that a researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute just released a paper that came to similar conclusions. Here’s a quote: When asked how consumers benefit from medical malpractice insurance, industry executives typically mention only patient compensation. Yet much more is at work. […]